The past few years spending time with you has been great and all, but I’m writing to tell you we’re breaking up. Its not you. It’s me. Or rather, it’s Bend. And more specifically, it’s Phil’s trails. And even more specifically, it’s Whoops.
See, before I met Whoops I was just sort of crushed out on Phil’s Trails. We fooled around a little but it didn’t mean anything. You were still my number one trail riding love. The first time my handsome RacerX ever touched wheels to your 18 Road side, I fell for you… hard. On Zippety Do Dah. Do you remember? I left a piece of my heart and a piece of my right knee there. You were such a joy to be around, such delightful fun, that I couldn’t stay mad (or hurt) for long. You were so sweet, so gentle, I trusted you.
And then you opened up to me and showed me your rougher, rowdy side. Kokopelli. Horsethief Bench. Mary’s. Steve’s. Lion’s. All of it. You held nothing back. I followed your lead and you rewarded me with some of the most rad riding, epic views, gnarliest rock rash and amazing trails. Our night rides were some of the best times of my life.
But long-distance affairs are tricky. The time between our visits has become too great to bear; the distance between us too difficult to ignore. I love you Fruita but the truth is you’re not really available. I feel like I’m always chasing after you. And you say the same thing to all the girls, something like: “Hey sugar… Take a ride on the wild side.” It’s not that you’ve been unfaithful but you’re still not really available to me. And I’ve become too strong to settle for so little. I want a trail who’s gonna fight for me! I want… more.
Last Friday I was invited to a ‘Happy Hour ride’ at Lower Whoops in Bend. A regular group ride that happens weekly, the deal is ride a lap or two, have a martini/beer/margarita/whatever, ride another lap, or however one desired to mix it up. I dressed for the occasion, donning my evening bike attire.
At the top of the trail, my new best Bend friend and ride guide extraordinaire CB suggested I lower my saddle for the descent. Most of Phil’s trails don’t really require this, but I soon discovered why Whoops is different. Fast, twisty, flowy singletrack with perfectly bermed turns to pump through and about 3 dozen jumps, doubles, even a few triples and table tops. My first run was characteristically cautious, slow, analytical… and hella fun. Rejoining the group at the bottom, the grin on my face said it all…
“How was it?” they chirped, knowing I’d just had my Whoops cherry popped.
“That SUCKED!” I lied.
The second run was faster with bigger air and sweeter jumps and when I rolled up to the group again at the bottom someone asked me: “What was your favorite place you’ve ridden during your taevels? Moab? Durango? Fruita?”
That’s when I knew. It was over between us.
They say you never forget your first epic. You were my first and for that you will always have a special place in my heart, Fruita. You’re where I fell in love with mountain biking, where it went from being a want to a need, like water or breathing. I will never forget you for that. But it’s time for me to move on. I’ve grown and changed, and I need more than just an occasional huck buddy. I think I’m ready for an LTR (Long Trail Relationship). And Bend has captured my fancy, stolen my heart, and asked me to move in.
Don’t be mad. I know we will be friends for life. I’m sure I’ll be passing through again next Spring or Fall, and would love to get together for a night ride or a quickie up Kessel’s or down Joe’s. Until then, thanks for all the amazing memories. I will miss you, but as you’ve always had my best interests at heart, I’m sure you’ll agree this is for the best.